Colts & Coaches 12 - 12 Exiles & Wanderers
Saturday 26th April saw what I believe was a first for the club; Colts and Coaches XV vs Wanderers and Exiles XV, that was one of the pre-game activities for the final home game of the season.
I’m not sure whose idea this fixture was, so I’ll give credit to Dave Cleaver, the outgoing Colts head coach who pushed the organisation and rounded up a referee and willing coaches to bolster the Colts. It seems like an idea that will continue as each ‘side’ had 30 players volunteering to take part. Naturally to adhere to RFU safety rules some swapping around of players was required in the front row so that it was either adult vs adult of U19 vs U19. Martin Dixon made his services available as referee and we are very grateful to him for doing so for a game that was played in a very competitive, and occasionally feisty, spirit.
The goal of the ‘fixture’ was to introduce the Colts to adult rugby on a day that saw one of last year’s Colts Conor Gracey, and one of this year’s, Ryan Headington, start for the 1st team. Conor having played in games earlier in the season and with Euan Dingwall and Ryan coming off the bench the previous week, the pathway through the club from the Academy is starting to work. Some of the Colts are no strangers to adult rugby having made their debuts for either Exiles or Wanderers during the season and we hope that the effects of this game haven’t put any of them off doing so next season.
An intra-club game such as this threw up some interesting family associations with father vs son,( The Traynors) brother vs brother (The Millers), ref vs son (the Dixons) as well as father and son together (The Dingwalls, Murdochs and Cleavers) as well as some Exile stalwarts who chose to play for the younger side (Darren Messenger and Sam Sandercock, who qualified for both).
With 30 minutes each way and rolling subs the goal was for everyone to get a game and exhaustion not to be a factor. The Exiles played with the wind in the first half and to my view had the majority of the possession and territory. Good tackling was seen from both sides but good interplay in the backs saw Magnus Whittle score for the Exiles with Leo White missing the conversion. 5-0
Post-game comments included observations that the stamina of some of the coaches surprised people; an example being John Traynor playing hooker for the Colts/coaches and reffing the game as well! In John’s defence he was pack leader and was probably trying to counter the barracking he was getting from the sidelines from his son Callum and some of last year’s colts!!!
The second half saw the Colts/coaches combo come to the fore with strong runs from both Colts and coaches, One rampaging run by Paul Barker springs to mind, though by his own admission post game it was limited in distance!
Hugo Chambre made another of those runs, this time over a longer distance bouncing more than one would be tackler to score and bring the scores level. 5-5
The wind was hampering the Exiles clearing kicks, as the Colts/Coaches pressed again it was Gordon Dingwall who was able to go over from close in, with the kick being made the Colts led 12-5.
However the play was not all in the Exiles half and they had 2 marvellous chances to score only for the final pass to be dropped with the line open.
As the game wore on the game became a bit more feisty with coaches and Exiles being warned as to where they put their boots and the scrums becoming full on affairs. Rob Law (Exiles) demonstrated his scummaging power at one encounter demolishing Dave Chapman. As the Exiles pressed for a final score Sam Miller found himself (later in the physio room he had no recollection) laid out flat by a tackle from an offside player. The ensuing penalty, some minutes later, went quickly from Rob Smith, to Ben Peach and a long flat pass to Hugh Pritchard who scored after running it nearer to the posts once over the try line.
Ben Peach took the conversion. With neither team providing a touch judge, Martin judged Ben's kick to have sailed inside the post to tie the game.
Final score 12-12.